Armagnac Snail Fricassé, served with Tomato and Fennel Ragoût in Fennel Seed pastry cases on a bed of Fennel Purée

Tonight, the finest ski in, ski out Chamonix chalet served as starter an Armagnac Snail Fricassé, with Tomato and Fennel Ragoût in Fennel Seed pastry cases on a bed of Fennel Purée…

Simply delicious…  (ed. note: assuming, of course, you love snails!!)

(ed. additional. note:  after this dish, you will LOVE snails!)…

With the snails, we put a fistful of finely chopped banana shallots and copious amounts of garlic… — we are in France, after all!! —  Added abundant brown sugar to sweeten the lovely creatures and then drowned them in silky smooth Armagnac!!   We added a 36E cup of lovely golden flaked almonds .. and slow-cooked the mix for 4 hours with a mug of sinful, melted butter…     Nigella would love this!

Are you salivating too, yet?

A fresh fine ragoût of fennel and tomato and onion was prepared with a dash or two of thyme and basil…

I also melted some finely chopped fennel with onion and garlic… then added star anise and thyme… before adding enough cream to make a small cheese and simmering it all softly until the fennel was perfectly soft… .. before blitzing the whole mix (less the star anise) in the food processor to a fine purée….

Homemade pastry cases with whole, aniseed-y fennel seeds …

Yummmy…..

Armagnac snail fricassé with tomato and fennel ragoût, fennel seed pastry and fennel purée

So… the snails are sweet and tender.. melt in your mouth… with the slightly crunchiness of the almonds which simply adore butter!!  This balances with the ever-so-slightly bitterness of the aniseed fennel seeds of the pastry cases which offset the freshness of the tomato-fennel ragoût..    Now… taste the fennel purée with its creamy sensuousness… with fine overtones of thyme and a hint of the aniseed from the star anise…  yummmmmmmmmmm!

Not Heston yet.  But the Albert Premiere 2* in Chamonix should watch it’s back!

ps. Expecting 15-30 cms of fresh powder at 1,500 metres tonight… The RETURN OF THE NEIGE!!

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